Earlier in the week, I took an extensive look at what Joe Barry's defensive front might look like in Washington. If you missed it, you can find it HERE. Today, I'll look at what the Chargers secondary did in that same game.
Here is your basic Cover 4. The Chargers didn't really rely on this too much until the 2 minute drill.
On this play, Chargers show a Cover 4 shell with the CBs deep and the two safeties over top but one of the safeties drops into the middle and this is actually a Cover 3.
They also ran a Cover 2 man. Two safeties splitting the field over the top with man coverage underneath. I didn't see them run Cover 2 zone once in this game. I'm sure they ran it at some point in the season and it'll be interesting to see how often Joe Barry applies it considering his Tampa 2 background.
Last but not least, the Chargers favorite coverage in this game was Cover 1 man. Here is that flatline defense we talked about in the other breakdown where the one safety over the top is very identifiable. They would both blitz from this look and have the middle guys drop into underneath zones.
Many times, the Chargers would run a Cover 1 man disguised as a Cover 2. Both safeties would align deep and at the hike one jumps down into the middle of the field taking the "robber" position. In the last breakdown, I said I would explain why the blitzing safety was coming free so often. This disguised coverage is the reason. Sometimes the safety would come down into the "robber" position and sometimes he would keep coming. It looked the same.
This is another Cover 1 disguise they used during the game. While maybe not a disguise per se because there is an identifiable single high safety, the other safety is actually the single high. The slot CB is going to blitz and the current high safety is going to come down and take the slot in man coverage while the other safety rolls back deep.
While none of this is ground-breaking stuff and it's run around the league, you can certainly draw conclusions on preferences and tendencies by when and how often a defense plays a certain coverage. Here are the numbers (numbers aren't exact because of some quick plays, run plays, etc but you can form percentages based on confirmed coverages):
Cover 4: 8 times
Cover 3: 6 times
Cover 2 Man: 4 times
Cover 2 Zone: 0 times
Cover 1: 26 times
(They disguised Cover 1 as a Cover 2 five times)
Needless to say, they were a big fan of man coverage in this game. I look forward to watching more games and finding out if this was indeed a season long trend.
Like I said in the previous article, this probably isn't a carbon copy of what Joe Barry will do but it's good to look at the concepts he has been around the last few years. Same as the front, it'll be interesting to see how Joe Barry adapts his scheme to the personnel that will be available to him. You could argue that Bashaud Breeland is the only one built for a mostly press-man scheme. You could also argue you don't want to see half of the Redskins DBs playing zone again after the amount of busted coverages last year. Is there a safety on the roster that can roam as a single high and protect the CBs underneath? There are many unanswered questions as far as the players go but hopefully this gives a few answers concerning what direction the defense is going in.